Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Nickola W. Nelson

Second Advisor

Dr. Brooks Applegate

Third Advisor

Dr. Michael Clark

Fourth Advisor

Mrs. Adelia Van Meter

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Developmental spelling stage theories have been proposed and disputed for 30 years. The current study used Gentry's (1982) model to assign category ratings to narrative writing samples produced by 32 students over two years to observe developmental growth over time. In addition, quantitative measures were obtained from the samples, including an index of control (Laminack & Wood, 1996) and a percentage correct. Analyses were also used to test the effectiveness of using a writing lab approach (Nelson, Bahr & Van Meter, 2004) on spelling development. During the last half of second grade, all 32 students received intervention guided by the writing lab approach. During third grade, only 21 students received intervention. This allowed for a continuous intervention group (n = 21) and a comparison group (n = 11).

Results indicated that a spelling stage model, such as Gentry's (1982), was able to measure growth over time. Analyses of variance showed a significant effect for time from mid-second grade to the end of third grade for category rating, index of control, and percentage correct. In addition, analyses from paired t-tests revealed that students in the continuous intervention group evidenced a greater change over time than the comparison group, indicating a positive effect of the writing lab intervention model to support spelling growth over time.